Solicitor Peter Boyce OAM, who helped secure the conviction of Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe’s killer, has been lauded for his fee-free work on the almost decade-long case.
The Queensland Law Society awarded Mr Boyce OAM the prestigious President’s Medal at the annual Legal Profession Dinner in February.
“Peter stands as a leader in our profession and is one of countless lawyers who selflessly toil for little or no reward in the pro bono space within their communities,” Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said.
“Peter has quietly and fiercely acted on the behalf and in support of the Morcombe family, as well as other parents who have tragically lost young children, and this medal recognises and celebrates the work of a truly outstanding individual.”
Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Mr Boyce OAM said: “I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that I'd received the award because I know that there are lots of people in the legal profession who do work pro bono or voluntarily that never get recognised.”
Mr Boyce OAM acted as Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s solicitor for no fee throughout their nine-year ordeal to find out what happened to their 13-year-old son, Daniel, who disappeared while waiting to catch a bus in December 2003.
Mr Boyce OAM was instrumental in questioning serial child sex-offender Brett Cowan and smashing his alibi during a lengthy coronial inquiry that kicked off in 2010. Mr Cowan was sentenced in March 2014 to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years for murdering the Sunshine Coast school boy.
When asked what made him decide to handle the case pro bono, Mr Boyce said: “I didn't think it was something I should charge for. I was heavily involved in the foundation and I’d seen first hand how traumatic life had been for them and I just didn't feel as though it would be right for me to do that.”
He also helped Mr and Ms Morcombe set up the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, an organisation dedicated to educating children about child safety.
“I think I’ve been really privileged to be able to work with the Morcombes,” Mr Boyce OAM said.
“I’ve learnt so much from them. They are such positive people and in the face of the worst tragedy anyone could ever think of they've turned everything around and they've made sure that the message of child safety becomes high on the agenda for everyone.”
He added: “That's why I feel as though I’ve been blessed in a way, frankly.”